Suez enhances paid parental leave for 2,800 staff in Australia

Kim-Hall Suez

Resource management organisation Suez has enhanced its paid parental leave benefits for 2,800 employees based in Australia.

Announced on 24 July 2019, the improved policy, which became effective on 1 July, enables primary carers to take up to 14 weeks of paid parental leave immediately after the birth of their baby, or following the adoption of a child under the age of five. In addition, primary carers will receive a lump sum payment on their return to work, amounting to two weeks’ salary.

At the end of the paid leave period, primary carers can opt to take unpaid leave for an extra 38 weeks; if they choose to do this, they will still continue to receive full superannuation entitlements during this time.

The policy, which does not impact on employees’ ability to access the Australian federal government’s paid parental leave scheme, also accommodates secondary carers, offering four weeks of paid leave to be used within the first 24 months after birth or adoption.

Kim Hall (pictured), HR director at Suez Australia and New Zealand, said: “By shifting the focus from simply maternity leave to supporting primary carers and their partners, we will better reflect the diversity found in our workforce and ensure equitable access to financial, flexibility and career continuation benefits, regardless of which parent or carer assumes the primary care role.”

The extended policy will be applicable retrospectively for any employees who commenced paid parental or partner leave from 1 January 2019.

Prior to these enhancements, Suez employees in Australia could take up to six weeks of paid maternity leave and one week of paternity leave with pay, as well as extensive unpaid leave options.

The improved offering has been designed to provide equal opportunities and remuneration to employees, regardless of gender, and aligns with Suez’s recently launched flexible working initiative.

Hall added: “We have come a long way in Australia when it comes to gender equality in the workplace, but there is still a substantial gap.

“What we’re really aiming for at Suez is a situation where everyone can access the same rewards, resources and opportunities. It’s not only what is fair and right; it also makes a significant positive impact on our overall economic performance and ability to attract and retain exceptional people.”